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Tiger girls force OT, but drop rematch at Benson

Benson outlasted Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 78-72 in overtime to win a West Central Conference South girls' basketball rematch Tuesday.

On Jan. 16 in Morris, the Tigers defeated the Braves 48-44.

Benson improves to 7-2 in the conference and 12-3 overall. The Tigers fall to 7-3 and 10-4.

The Tigers had a sluggish first half defensively and took a 41-35 deficit into halftime. They trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, before a fierce comeback sent the game into overtime.

"I was just very disappointed in our first half defense," said Ken Gagner. "We gave up a season-high 41 points and it was just scary. We didn't move our feet, we didn't rebound, just real poor effort.

"We did have a hot hand offensively, which kept us in the game for a run in the second half," added Gagner.

Benson led 68-61 with three minutes to go in the second half, but was held scoreless the remainder of the half as the Tigers rallied to force overtime.

The Tigers had the ball with 10 seconds left in regulation and missed a potential game winner. Benson got the rebound, but then turned the ball over at the buzzer to send the game into an extra period.

Benson got up quick and never looked back in overtime, limiting the Tigers to one field goal and two free throws in the four-minute extra session.

"Give credit to Benson," said Gagner. "They outworked us and out hustled us and made the shots when they had too."

Mary Rentz had 20 points and Jenna Nelson followed with 16 to pace the Tigers. Nicole Gillespie led the Tigers with six rebounds.

For the Braves, Julia Ahrndt drained five three pointers en route to netting a game-high 23 points for Benson. Abby Fragodt added 20 points and 18 rebounds and Emily Auch pumped in 14 more points